From the author of Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, The Wordy Shipmates is New York Times bestselling author Sarah Vowell's exploration of the Puritans and their journey to America to become the people of John Winthrop's "city upon a hill," a shining example, a "city that cannot be hid." To this day, America views itself as a Puritan nation, but Vowell investigates what that means? and what it should mean. What was this great political enterprise all about? Who were these people who are considered the philosophical, spiritual, and moral ancestors of our nation? What Vowell discovers is something far different from what their uptight shoe-buckles-and- corn reputation might suggest. The people she finds are highly literate, deeply principled, and surprisingly feisty. Their story is filled with pamphlet feuds, witty courtroom dramas, and bloody vengeance. Along the way she asks: *Was Massachusetts Bay Colony governor John Winthrop a communitarian, a Christlike Christian, or conformity?s tyrannical enforcer? Answer: Yes! *Was Rhode Island?s architect, Roger Williams, America?s founding freak or the father of the First Amendment? Same difference. *What does it take to get that jezebel Anne Hutchinson to shut up? A hatchet. *What was the Puritans? pet name for the Pope? The Great Whore of Babylon. Sarah Vowell?s special brand of armchair history makes the bizarre and esoteric fascinatingly relevant and fun. She takes us from the modern-day reenactment of an Indian massacre to the Mohegan Sun casino, from old-timey Puritan poetry, where ?righteousness? is rhymed with ?wilderness,? to a Mayflower-themed waterslide. Throughout, The Wordy Shipmates is rich in historical fact, humorous insight, and social commentary by one of America?s most celebrated voices. Thou shalt enjoy it.
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New York Times bestselling author of The Wordy Shipmates and contributor to NPR’s "This American Life" Sarah Vowell embarks on a road trip to sites of political violence, from Washington DC to Alaska, to better understand our nation’s ever-evolving political system and history. Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrums of American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. With Assassination Vacation, she takes us on a road trip like no other -- a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage. From Buffalo to Alaska, Washington to the Dry Tortugas, Vowell visits locations immortalized and influenced by the spilling of politically important blood, reporting as she goes with her trademark blend of wisecracking humor, remarkable honesty, and thought-provoking criticism. We learn about the jinx that was Robert Todd Lincoln (present at the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and witness the politicking that went into the making of the Lincoln Memorial. The resulting narrative is much more than an entertaining and informative travelogue -- it is the disturbing and fascinating story of how American death has been manipulated by popular culture, including literature, architecture, sculpture, and -- the author's favorite -- historical tourism. Though the themes of loss and violence are explored and we make detours to see how the Republican Party became the Republican Party, there are all kinds of lighter diversions along the way into the lives of the three presidents and their assassins, including mummies, show tunes, mean-spirited totem poles, and a nineteenth-century biblical sex cult.
From the author of Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, an examination of Hawaii, the place where Manifest Destiny got a sunburn. Many think of 1776 as the defining year of American history, when we became a nation devoted to the pursuit of happiness through self- government. In Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell argues that 1898 might be a year just as defining, when, in an orgy of imperialism, the United States annexed Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and invaded first Cuba, then the Philippines, becoming an international superpower practically overnight. Among the developments in these outposts of 1898, Vowell considers the Americanization of Hawaii the most intriguing. From the arrival of New England missionaries in 1820, their goal to Christianize the local heathen, to the coup d'état of the missionaries' sons in 1893, which overthrew the Hawaiian queen, the events leading up to American annexation feature a cast of beguiling, and often appealing or tragic, characters: whalers who fired cannons at the Bible-thumpers denying them their God-given right to whores, an incestuous princess pulled between her new god and her brother-husband, sugar barons, lepers, con men, Theodore Roosevelt, and the last Hawaiian queen, a songwriter whose sentimental ode "Aloha 'Oe" serenaded the first Hawaiian president of the United States during his 2009 inaugural parade. With her trademark smart-alecky insights and reporting, Vowell lights out to discover the off, emblematic, and exceptional history of the fiftieth state, and in so doing finds America, warts and all.
Police detective Binky investigates the theft of a golden goose, the poisoning of Snow White, and other fairy tale crimes. Full color.
The final collection from Nick Hornby's column "Stuff I've Been Reading" in the Believer magazine.
In Roger Williams's Little Book of Virtues, religion writer Becky Garrison delves into the life of her eleventh/twelfth great-grandfather to uncover the untold story behind this forgotten pioneer of religious liberty. Employing a format reminiscent of How Proust Can Change Your Life and The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality, Garrison examines Roger Williams's work through the lens of the four classical virtues, which, as she observes, define values that have an almost universal consensus regardless of one's particular belief system. How can Roger Williams's life and ministry shed light on the role of the citizens in a global pluralized world? Garrison asks why this conversation focusing on the role of religion in public life got relegated to moralists like William J. Bennett, who crafted a fundamentalist rulebook that views these virtues through a very strict black-and-white lens. In this age of horizontal social media, what prevents people from standing up to these modern-day Goliaths and taking away their media megaphone? Here Garrison sees hope in the rise of the "nones" who, like Williams, follow their own spiritual path and create spaces that embrace women, POC, LGBT folks, and others marginalized by the institutional church.
Anyone who texts recognizes "LOL," "2G2BT," and "PRW" as shorthand for "laughing out loud," "too good to be true," and "parents are watching." But did you know that in the 1800s—when your great-great-great-grandparents were alive—telegraph operators used similar abbreviations in telegrams? For example, "GM," "SFD," and "GA" meant "good morning," "stop for dinner," and "go ahead." At the time, telegrams were a new and superfast way for people to network with others. Social networking isn't a new idea. People have been connecting in different versions of circles and lists and groups for centuries. The broad range of social media includes wampum belts, printed broadsides (early newspapers), ring shouts (secret slave gatherings with singing and dancing), calling cards, telegrams, and telephones. The invention of the Internet—and e-mail, text messaging, and social utilities such as Facebook and Google+—is just the latest way in which humans network for fun, work, romance, spiritual bonding, and many other reasons. Friend Me! takes readers through the amazing history of social networking in the United States, from early Native American councils to California's Allen Telescope Array (ATA), where researchers are hoping to interact with extraterrestrial beings. Learn how Americans have been connecting in imaginative ways throughout history, and you'll see social networking in a whole new light.
From the bestselling author of Assassination Vacation and The Partly Cloudy Patriot, an insightful and unconventional account of George Washington’s trusted officer and friend, that swashbuckling teenage French aristocrat the Marquis de Lafayette. Chronicling General Lafayette’s years in Washington’s army, Vowell reflects on the ideals of the American Revolution versus the reality of the Revolutionary War. Riding shotgun with Lafayette, Vowell swerves from the high-minded debates of Independence Hall to the frozen wasteland of Valley Forge, from bloody battlefields to the Palace of Versailles, bumping into John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Lord Cornwallis, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Antoinette and various kings, Quakers and redcoats along the way. Drawn to the patriots’ war out of a lust for glory, Enlightenment ideas and the traditional French hatred for the British, young Lafayette crossed the Atlantic expecting to join forces with an undivided people, encountering instead fault lines between the Continental Congress and the Continental Army, rebel and loyalist inhabitants, and a conspiracy to fire George Washington, the one man holding together the rickety, seemingly doomed patriot cause. While Vowell’s yarn is full of the bickering and infighting that marks the American past—and present—her telling of the Revolution is just as much a story of friendship: between Washington and Lafayette, between the Americans and their French allies and, most of all between Lafayette and the American people. Coinciding with one of the most contentious presidential elections in American history, Vowell lingers over the elderly Lafayette’s sentimental return tour of America in 1824, when three fourths of the population of New York City turned out to welcome him ashore. As a Frenchman and the last surviving general of the Continental Army, Lafayette belonged to neither North nor South, to no political party or faction. He was a walking, talking reminder of the sacrifices
Stories about the past shape not only the way people think about history, but also the way they act in the present. Nowhere is this truer than in the area of religion, which has been and continues to be a powerful motivating force in the lives of billions around the globe. In this volume, Catholicism and Historical Narrative: A Catholic Engagement with Historical Scholarship, contributors explore the way stories are constructed and show how a focus on Catholic figures and concerns challenges common understandings of important historical episodes and eras. Editor Kevin Schmiesing has gathered a distinguished group of scholars who, in various ways, call into question conventional story lines by highlighting previously neglected Catholic ideas and individuals. Built on ample evidence and employing keen insight, each essay is the result of cutting-edge research in fields ranging from historical research on Puritan New England and the antebellum South to the history of abortion to the twentieth-century papacy. Students and scholars of religious history, Catholic historians, and anyone interested in the intersection of religion and history will all find here much to interest—and maybe even surprise—in the chapters' arguments concerning the deficiencies of history's dominant narratives. The volume's focus on the history of Catholics in the United States makes it essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the place of Catholicism in the American story.
This is a fascinating and intellectually honest work about a remarkable family that has played a major role in the history of Providence and Rhode Island. Sylvia Brown has made a tremendous contribution in writing this wonderful book. It is clearly a labor of love, and we should all be grateful to her for it. Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York, former President of Brown University A splendid work of history---an honest, clearly written, and solidly based account of the private and public lives through four centuries of one of Americas most important and fascinating families. Gordon Wood, Pulitzer Prize for History, Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University What fuels a familys compulsion for philanthropy? Self-interest? A feeling of guilt? A sense of genuine altruism? Charitable giving is such an intrinsic part of American culture that its story deserves to be told, not in a dry, academic tome but through the tale of a colorful, multifaceted family. Since 1638, the Browns of Rhode Island have provided community leaders in one of the nations most idiosyncratic states. In the 18th century, they excelled at maritime commerce, were pioneers of the American industrial revolution, and adorned their hometown of Providence with public buildings, churches, and a university. In the 19th century, they pioneered the modern notion that universities can be forces for social good. And, in the 20th century, they sought to transform the human experience through great art and architecture. Over three hundred years, the Browns also wrestled with societys toughest issuesslavery, immigration, child labor, the dispossessedand with their own internal family tensions. Author Sylvia Brown tells the story of the ten generations of Browns that came before her with warmth and lucidity. Today, in an era of wealth creation and philanthropic innovation not seen since the Gilded Age, Grappling with Legacy provides fascinatin
Part celebration, part civics lesson, and part cautionary tale, Kind of Close to Heaven — an anthology of columns written by Joyce Kleiner for the Mill Valley Herald — chronicles the author’s adopted hometown in all its perfect imperfection. In these collected essays — sometimes sweet, sometimes instructive, and sometimes bitingly satirical — Joyce Kleiner captures Mill Valley’s unique character. Included are profiles of residents such as poet Jane Hirshfield; explorations of the town’s traditions and institutions, from the Little League Opening Day to the critically acclaimed Marin Theater Company; and recollections of Mill Valley’s quirky history. Kind of Close to Heaven examines the many ways a community builds walls at its own peril, whether through the virtual barriers of racism or real borders that threaten the democratic spirit of public parks and gathering places, and delivers civic lessons in unexpected and irreverent ways. There’s the call to community responsibility, for example, in the declaration that Mill Valley has no poop fairies to clean up after your dog; the early warning against the destructive potential of a new phenomenon called Twitter; and the ten lessons on being a good citizen that evoke redwood trees, front porches, and — yes — more dog poop. Together, this collection gives readers encouragement, advice, and warnings on building community, and reminds the citizens of Mill Valley why they think their town is kind of close to Heaven.
A comedian and Moth veteran lays out useful tips and tricks for maximizing the impact of your stories—so you can nail it every time Do you ever wish you could tell a story that leaves others spellbound? Comedian, Upright Citizens Brigade storytelling program founder, and Moth champion Margot Leitman will show you how in this practical guide to storytelling. Using a fun, irreverent, and infographic approach, Long Story Short breaks a story into concrete components. From content and structure to emotional impact and delivery, Leitman guides you through the entire storytelling process, providing personal anecdotes, relatable examples, and practical exercises along the way. Using a fun, irreverent, and infographic approach, Long Story Short breaks a story into concrete components. From content and structure to emotional impact and delivery, Leitman guides you through the entire storytelling process, providing personal anecdotes, relatable examples, and practical exercises along the way.
Successfully navigate the rich world of travel narratives and identify fiction and nonfiction read-alikes with this detailed and expertly constructed guide.
The question “What is America?” has taken on new urgency. Weak Nationalisms explores the emotional dynamics behind that question by examining how a range of authors have attempted to answer it through nonfiction since the Second World War, revealing the complex and dynamic ways in which affects shape the literary construction of everyday experience in the United States. Douglas Dowland studies these attempts to define the nation in an eclectic selection of texts from writers such as Simone de Beauvoir, John Steinbeck, Charles Kuralt, Jane Smiley, and Sarah Vowell. Each of these texts makes use of synecdoche, and Weak Nationalisms shows how this rhetorical technique is variously driven by affects including curiosity, discontent, hopefulness, and incredulity. In exploring the function of synecdoche in the creative construction of the United States, Dowland draws attention to the evocative politics and literary richness of nationalism and connects critical literary practices to broader discussions involving affect theory and cultural representation.
Rhode Island may be the smallest state, but it has the tallest tales. It's home to many larger-than-life men with exciting stories of mutiny, revolt and daring. Horror writer H.P. Lovecraft tries to escape the grasp of the demonic "Night-Gaunts" that haunt him. Captain William Kidd, convicted of piracy and murder, is hung and left to rot as a warning for others pursuing a similar career path. And Samuel Slater, Father of the Industrial Revolution, may be a revolutionary in our eyes, but he is considered a treasonous rogue by the English. Travel with M.E. Reilly-McGreen as she follows up her book Witches, Wenches and Wild Women of Rhode Island with tales of the best and worst men The Ocean State has to offer.
A revealing look at the shows that helped TV emerge as the signature art form of the twenty-first century In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the landscape of television began an unprecedented transformation. While the networks continued to chase the lowest common denominator, a wave of new shows on cable channels dramatically stretched television’s narrative inventiveness, emotional resonance, and artistic ambition. Combining deep reportage with cultural analysis and historical context, Brett Martin recounts the rise and inner workings of a genre that represents not only a new golden age for TV, but also a cultural watershed. Difficult Men features extensive interviews with all the major players, including David Chase, David Simon, David Milch, and Alan Ball; in addition to other writers, executives, directors and actors. Martin delivers never-before-heard story after story, revealing how cable television became a truly significant and influential part of our culture.
The history of the settlement project of the Massachusetts Bay Company in early New England. this book offers a critical reading of the settler history of its first governor, John Winthrop.